We live in a society that still, despite many positive advances, expects different things from men and women.
Men are left feeling they are supposed to be strong and protect others. But what if you are the one who is being hurt?
Latest yearly police reports from England and Wales recorded 149, 248 incidents of male domestic abuse.
And the sad reality is that these statistics are probably inaccurate. There are probably many more men suffering abuse, but our society doesn’t leave them feeling comfortable enough to report it.
The law in the UK was changed in 2015 so that it’s not just a crime to physically abuse someone.
It’s also a crime to use psychological and emotional abuse against a partner or spouse, regardless of their gender, age, size, or any other factor.
The law now provides a ‘domestic violence protection order’ to protect you. It lasts for 28 days, and means the woman abusing you cannot come near you or contact you. This gives you time to get proper support and figure out what you are going to do next.
Male domestic abuse is more than being hit. It can include the following:
It is also not just physical. Male domestic abuse also involves psychological, emotional, and even economic abuse. Here are some examples (although there are sadly many more):
Again, we don't live in a society that makes it easy for men to feel like a victim, or to feel powerless. Big expectations are placed on men.
If you grew up in a family where you were expected to be ‘masculine’, or were told things like, ‘boys don’t cry’? You can feel a lot of shame about admitting you are being abused. It can feel that if you admit you couldn’t stand up for yourself, and didn’t know how to protect yourself, you are weak.
But know these expectations placed upon men are totally unrealistic. Nobody is strong or powerful all the time, no matter what mask they wear in public.
And they also are a false idea of what strong is. For example, it is not weak to reach out for support or admit you are in trouble or made a mistake. In fact it takes tremendous courage to do so, and is form of psychological strength.
Do not beat yourself up for not feeling able to leave your wife or partner. It's actually hard for any victim of domestic abuse to walk away.
If you are being abused then you are also being psychologically manipulated. This is why you feel so exhuasted and unable to think straight. You can even feel addicted to the very woman that is abusing you, so that even though you know that she is hurting you, the idea of leaving your wife or partner can leave you feeling scared. None of this is your fault.
You might also be terrified that if you leave your partner or wife will hurt your children, or your family pet that you love. So you stay because you don't know what else to do.
So be proud of yourself that you are here reading this article, and that you are admitting there is a problem. That alone is a huge step.
Try to get some sort of proper support. Yes, it can feel terrifying. But it can literally save your life. If you were on a ship that was sinking, would you feel embarrassed to get on a life boat?
If you really know your friends and family can help, that's great. But if that makes you feel too ashamed or triggers difficult emotions, that's understandable.
Sometimes it can be easier to talk to someone who you don’t know personally and isn't invested in the situation. This can mean calling a helpline. They are free, and the trained listeners won’t judge you and will really understand. They can tell you steps to take next, or charities who can help you.
Men’s Advice Line in the UK can be reached at 0808 801 0327, Mon to Fri 9-5, and will not appear on your phone bill. If you feel too nervous to call they have a web chat on Tuesdays and Thursday from 10 to 4pm.
You can also talk to a counsellor or therapist, over Skype if that's easier. They create a very safe and confidential space for you to share your concerns. And when you do leave the relationship, they can help you rebuild your self-esteem and sense of self.